A New York-based app developer is currently testing an iPhone app that's going to turn a lot of heads. It's called "Pikinis." In the apps own words: "Pikinis is the iPhone app that automatically finds swimsuit photos on Facebook. You can quickly find your friends' pikinis or meet new people by exploring pikinis in your network, city or campus!"
In other words, Pikinis is one part Facebook filter for girl's bikini photos a la "Badabing!", another part social networking utility.
According to the official Pikinis website, the Pikinis app is in beta. I confirmed this over an e-mail exchange with the app's developers after reading an e-mail shared on Reddit's r/Frats subreddit on Tuesday morning. According to the e-mail, the app is being tested with college-age fraternity guys across the country:
Just wanted to let you and your buddies know about a new iPhone app my startup is launching soon called Pikinis, which automatically detects all the swimsuit photos of your friends on Facebook. Pretty crazy, huh?
We are bringing together a huge group of guys, including fraternities from other schools, to do a test run of the app. In exchange for giving us some feedback, we'll let you download a premium version of Pikinis for free.
As a member of [redacted], could you help us out by forwarding this message along to your fellow brothers and friends? Anybody with an iPhone can shoot me a [redacted] or head over to www.pikinis.com to signup as a beta tester. The more the merrier!
I really appreciate it! Looking forward to hearing from you!
In an e-mail, Pikinis managing director Ted Kramer explains the app's goal: "Pikinis is a fun and safe place for guys and gals to interact around their shared love of the summer. We all love hanging out at the beach or by the pool, meeting new people, and showing off our hot swimsuit photos. Pikinis enables us collectively to share that experience."
But what's the story behind the app's development? Kramer elaborates:
I've have been involved on the ground floor of technology startups in the past and having just left one, I was looking for the next idea. Just by hanging out with my close girl and guy friends, I realized a lot of people express frustration about all the photos on Facebook and how difficult it is to find the ones you really want to see. The idea came about because its a problem many people seem to have, men and women.
And why the name Pikinis? As simple as changing a "P" to a "B." Kramer explains:
The name seemed simple. Pictures of bikinis = pikinis. It was the first name that popped into my head and just intuitively felt appropriate. To be clear, Pikinis is for men and women - women can just as easily find men's swimsuit photos, and (somewhat surprisingly) we've found just as much interest from women as men. Pikinis users set their preferences on viewing men, women, or both upon installing the app. Gay and lesbian users can also use the app and a number of my gay friends have found it to be really awesome.
Regarding the technology for the app, the Kramer notes they have a visual alogrithim to automatically detect swimsuit photos on Facebook:
Pikinis is built by computer vision experts who have developed algorithms that automatically find the swimsuit photos on Facebook. We have received great feedback from our early testers and are always looking for more people to help us test. if interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The app inevitably raises a few obvious privacy concerns. The baseline concept of guys social networking with girls by oogling over Facebook-uploaded bikini pics is obviously a little creepy. A follow up e-mail with Kramer addressed concerns on privacy issues to make Pikinis "a fun and safe place for guys and gals":
Yes, users can control their information and photos fully. Pikinis follows Facebook's guidelines to the tee to ensure privacy protection for fun and safe interactions. We screen for users who are under 18 and we adhere to best practice privacy controls in the industry.
One has to wonder how often people will use the "meet new people in your network, city, or campus" option a la dating apps like Tinder or Bang with Friends. Pikinis is still in Beta, so its approval for the Apple App Store remains unknown. But Kramer notes "Pikinis will launch in early summer, just in time for the beach!"
So there you go.